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Historical correction? NCERT erases reference to disputed Babri, calls it ‘3 domed structure’ built at the birthplace of Shri Ram

“A three-dome structure (that) was built at the site of Shri Ram’s birthplace in 1528, but the structure had visible displays of Hindu symbols and relics in its interior as well as its exterior portions,” the new text reads.

In a positive development, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has omitted the name of ‘Babri Masjid’ from its Class 12 Political Science textbook, reported The Indian Express.

The disputed structure, which was built by the general of Mughal tyrant Babur at the top of an existing Ram temple, has been stripped of its illegitimate name and renamed ‘three-domed structure.’

According to The Indian Express, the description in the old textbook included a “16th century mosque built by Mughal emperor Babur’s General Mir Baqi”.

Correction and addition of historical context

It has now been replaced with the following sentence – “a three-dome structure (that) was built at the site of Shri Ram’s birthplace in 1528, but the structure had visible displays of Hindu symbols and relics in its interior as well as its exterior portions”.

At the same time, it has been made clear that the disputed structure was constructed at the site of Hindu temple.

“In 1986, the situation regarding the three-dome structure took a significant turn when the Faizabad (now Ayodhya) district court ruled to unlock the structure, allowing people to worship there. The dispute had been going on for many decades as it was believed that the three-dome structure was built at Shri Ram’s birthplace after demolition of a temple,” the new context in the Class 12 political science textbook reads.

The NCERT book also refers to the unanimous 5-0 verdict of the Supreme Court of India, which paved the way for the reconstruction of the Ram Mandir at the birthplace of Shri Ram, and the Pran Prathistha ceremony of the Ram Mandir.

“The verdict allotted the disputed site to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust for the construction of Ram temple and directed the concerned government to allot appropriate site for the construction of a Mosque to the Sunni Central Waqf Board. In this way, democracy gives room for conflict resolution in a plural society like ours, upholding the inclusive spirit of the Constitution. This issue was resolved following the due process of law based on evidences such as archaeological excavations and historical records. The Supreme Court’s decision was celebrated by the society at large. It is a classic example of consensus building on a sensitive issue that shows the maturity of democratic ethos which are civilizationally ingrained in India,” it reads.

It must be mentioned that the NCERT textbooks have been revised 4th time since 2017, to reduce syllabus burden and disruptions in learning caused due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Response of NCERT

While speaking about the revision in Class 12 textbook, NCERT director Dinesh Prasad Saklani told PTI, “Why should we teach students about riots?”. The purpose of the textbook was not to create violent, depressed citizens.”

“Hatred, violence are not the subjects of teaching in school… (They) shouldn’t be focus of textbooks,” he emphasised. Saklani further added, “If anything becomes irrelevant, it will have to be changed.”

Earlier in April this year, NCERT informed, “Content is updated as per latest development in politics. Text on Ayodhya issue has been thoroughly revised because of the latest changes brought by the Supreme Court’s Constitutional bench verdict and its widespread welcoming reception.”

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